Have you ever wondered why our school mascot is a Sea Otter? That question still remains in my head. And I’m pretty sure it’s stuck in your head too, especially since you are aware by now. Speaking of otters, have you ever seen one before? And I don’t mean those little GIFS that you find on the internet, I mean a real otter, in real life. I have.
It was a nice summer day last year and I was down by Fletcher Cove beach for Junior Lifeguards. There was a little bit of a breeze and it was a little cloudy. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore still fills my ears. And the only thought I had in my mind was having to go out to the kelp beds.
Sure, almost every year my Junior Lifeguard group would go past the surf line, where there are no waves, and paddle out to the kelp beds, but I do have to say, not a lot of these attempts were successful. It was either time for us to go home, or it was getting too cold out, and I remember this year we couldn’t go because there was juvenile shark on the loose, as crazy as it sounds. But this time we, for once, got there.
At first, you think this is going to be so easy and believe me, it is not even close to being that way. A lot of people think that they just have to get over a few waves and paddle out a little past the surf line. And for some people it is, if you are a high level surfer, but for me, I am not the right material for surfing. And it is not a little past the surf line, it is a LOT! You could possibly think it is like a mile away and even I don’t know the real answer.
The first thing we had to do was get a paddle board that is right for our size. If it is too little, you could slide off and if it is too big, it is harder to control. After I finally got the board that suited me, it was time to set sail. It was a calm day at the beach so the waves were easy to get over and make it safely to the surf line. Now it was time to paddle. While paddling out, we saw little silver fish and bits of seaweed. But when we got closer to our destination, more seaweed and kelp appeared. We were getting closer. I had chills just thinking of seeing all the tall stalks of kelp sprouting from the sea floor. I think that I also got the chills from the freezing water.
After a few more paddles and when the people on the beach looked like little ants crawling across the sand, we were there. The beautiful color of the deep water made the kelp look all shiny and bright. And circling around that beautiful kelp were some big fish with black stripes.
The wide ocean was peaceful, like I expected, with the sound of my feet swaying in the water and the bright glow of the kelp. Then unexpectedly, something caught my eye. At first I thought it was seaweed but then it moved. Was it a shark? A seal? Others in the group were surprised, too, at this sight of a brown lump just floating in the middle of the ocean. A real live sea otter!
It was one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. It was just laying on its back with a little rock in its paws. It was so cute, one of the girls in the group wanted to pet this little fluff ball. But of course, our instructor said no. After 10 minutes of marveling at the little fella, it was time to go back to shore.
But the question still remains in my head: why is the school mascot a sea otter? Was it because we were near the beach? Is because they are as playful and curious like kids? It still is a mystery that isn’t solved, yet.